I get lots of mail. Sometimes letters make me feel as if I’m not wasting my time. This is one and I’d like to share it with gratitude and with the permission of the author.
Good Morning Frank,
I’ve been able to get a few chapters into Lucy, and it’s been intense! I’ve had the chance to slowly read while killing time up at “work,” so I thought I’d drop a line letting you know how it’s going. I’m a product straight from the heart of the utilitarian system and mentality you describe, but I’m trying desperately to escape. With that being said, Lucy has super helpful but not easy–it’s a slow read for me. I think that’s a good thing though, haha.
For starters, I’m going to go home and look at my daughter with fresh eyes tonight. What’s coming to mind is seeing her as a sort of Sherpa, leading me into what really matters, what’s eternal. I’ve wrestled with that before, but I’m so easily distracted by trying to figure out what “career” to follow next I can easily justify working or preparing our next life, over time just sitting with her. I’d love to end the ambitious 20 year old identity you described asap. Kami and I talk about that a lot, but hearing you express the same reality as someone a generation ahead of me got my attention.
I was also really attentive to your reflections on the history of the moral majority (not exactly sure how to describe that, I’m thinking the political/religious union of evangelicalism and conservative politics.) I’ve done my best to sift through and learn about what really motivates the “tribe” I grew up in. I’ve read some of Kent Dobson’s recent work which was incredibly helpful. But listening to you lay out the story as someone who was there, who participated, has given me a lot of confidence about the decisions I’m making and conclusions I’m drawing (especially because a lot of people consider me a “blasphemer” and “heretic.”) I really needed your story. It’s incredible, even in a simple reflection of your personal history, there is redemption for someone like me!
Whenever I share what I’m learning about evangelicalism, (with people want to listen and don’t run away!) the biggest response I get is sheer ignorance. Most people have no knowledge of the conscious decisions that a few individuals made to craft this faith…so that perhaps it isn’t faith at all! To that end, what is the one thing you wish others knew about this marriage of politics and religion that seems unknown or hidden to most people?
Continuing in that vein of thought, I’ve been developing a conviction that evil and morality–especially religious morality–might be two sides of the same coin (with tons of overlap), rather than opposite ends of some “righteous” spectrum as I’ve been trained to think. I’ve been writing and exploring this idea on my own, so I slowed down to pay attention to your piece on Voltaire and art.
In this section, you mentioned a few times how the marketplace has overtaken and dominated our existence–to where it seems that even art isn’t beauty but itself a market. I’m floored by this idea, because it helps me to make sense of so much around me that I dislike at some primitive level but don’t know why.
With that said, what do you think life looks like without this “market influence?” Does life like this exist anywhere today? As I’m reading I find myself feeling anxious because I’m not sure what it looks like for people to live without this capitalistic lens, but I can’t imagine life without it. I’m embarrassed but explaining the world through the market and utility is a sort of mental safety blanket.
Again, please don’t feel like you need to respond to this email, I just figured it’s not often that one gets the chance to communicate with an author real-time about their work. I just wanted you to know that at least with this reader, it’s really sticking! haha
P.S. Using the unconventional/ebook format is incredible. I found myself freaking out that the pages weren’t “traditional” at first (years of conditioning) but now I’m digging it. So good.
Do you need a break from the monotony of a 24-Hour chaos cycle? Do you want to make your way back into love, beauty and creation? Discover my new book Letter to Lucy: A Manifesto of Creative Redemption—In the Age of Trump, Fascism and Lies, a multi-touch book about art, love and parenting, from the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the prophetic music of Green Day and everything in between. Read the first chapter for free on your kindle fire or iOS device. Available now on iBooks and Amazon.
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